Saturday, March 19, 2011

Finding New Ways

As planned I started the day by doing some gardening. The garden has gone rather wild in the last month while I was distracted, but at least it is something I have some control over. By the end of the weekend I hope to have made a significant difference. Then we had a visitor: the EQC rapid assessment inspector. The EQC (government earthquake insurance commission) has learnt from the September quake and they have a much more efficient way of going about things this time. Every house in the Christchurch metropolitan area, as well as some outlying areas, is to be visited over the next two months, starting with the worst affected areas. As it is only a week and a half to two weeks into the process, our area must be quite high on the list.

It is a sort of "triage" - properties are sorted into categories, with a full inspection to be done later. But our visitor seemed to have a very fast and accurate eye for damage - for instance, standing at the door he noticed that our dining room floor was not quite level which we hadn't spotted. He asked if we had a marble, and P found a ball bearing which he placed on the floor, whereupon it rolled quite merrily to the other side of the room. What with the unlevel floor, the fact that we have a door that won't shut and another that won't open (fortunately there are two entrances into that room, especially since it is the toilet!), the chimney that fell down, damaging the eaves, and some widening cracks, he said that he would err on the side of caution and put us into the "severe structural damage" category - a bit higher than I had expected. He did hasten to assure us that the house is quite safe to live in. This should mean a visit for a full assessment within four months, however he then inspected the hole where the chimney fell and pronounced the house not fully weathertight - though temporary repairs had been done on the day - so we have been marked down for emergency repairs with a visit within three days. I assume that will take care of the hole in the roof only, and then we will go back on the four months list.

Later I went for a drive. Before the quake I had signed up for Joanna's poetry editing class. It has been rescheduled and as the original venue is not available, it will be held in a private home. The direct route though, goes right through the red zone. So I thought I would check out some roads while there wasn't pressure on to get there in time. This route skirts the east and north of the red zone. It is mostly OK except for the bridge:

What was normally four lanes - two each way - has become two. It will be fine for access to the weekend workshop, however my idea that it might be a more direct route to work may not be such a good one. I can imagine it getting gridlocked in rush hour (just the same as all the other roads that are still open).

I was very happy to spot this sign on a tree:

I've been to a poetry book launch at the Beat Street Cafe, a lovely friendly little cafe right on the edge of the red zone. It is really good to see things opening again.

Dinner with the family - almost like a normal Saturday night, except that I took my daughter home by car as the buses are unreliable. She says they are OK for coming from her house to ours, as it is at the beginning of the route where they are still running to timetable. Going the other way, she is at the end of the route and it is anybody's guess when the bus will arrive.


Chibi Janine said...

Glad things are beginning to settle for you and the rapid assessment is more efficient. It has been interesting to read your post as the mass media never stays with a story for long and move on to the next sensation. Hope you and your family remain well and your community is able to rebuild itself

Joan said...

I love your matter-of-fact way of sharing how it is with you Catherine. I must say I was shocked at the images of the CBD played during the Memorial Service. Keep well.Thanks for sharing.

Leonie Wise said...

Thanks for these little insights into life in Christchurch. It's good to know some things are returning to normal, even as the repairs are still underway. Good (and bad) news about your house! Hope it's all fixed up for you soon. I'm grateful for the pot of earthquake money, knowing those funds will be put to good use